Al Sadd

Silva to Lazio
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Lazio reportedly ready to over big money to David Silva

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While David Silva is in hot pursuit of pretty much the only trophy that’s eluded him, his agent’s phone is burning up with suitors for the Man City legend.

Silva is set to star in Friday’s UEFA Champions League second leg against Real Madrid, a result and three more wins from a European Cup to add to his World Cup, two EUROs, Copa del Rey, and 15 trophies with City.

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The latest team linked to Silva is Serie A side Lazio, who dropped off a cliff after competing with Juventus for the scudetto over the majority of this season.

The Italians are reportedly ready to offer the 34-year-old around $6 million per year over a 3-year deal.

Lazio sits fourth and can still finish as high as second on the table with two matches left in Italy’s domestic season, so Silva would stay in the Champions League.

We know Silva won’t be staying in the Premier League or else he’d add another year to his City deal.

He’s been linked with joining former Spanish national teammate Xavi, who manages Qatari side Al-Sadd, as well as a move to David Beckham’s Inter Miami in MLS which was once reported as “likely.

Spain and Barcelona great Xavi tests positive for COVID-19

Xavi coronavirus
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DOHA, Qatar — Former Spain and Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The 40-year-old Xavi, now the coach of Qatari club Al-Sadd, said Saturday that he was tested according to the Qatar league protocol and that the latest test showed he had contracted COVID-19.

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“Fortunately, I’m feeling OK, but I will be isolated until I am given the all-clear. When the health services allow it, I will be very eager to return to my daily routine and to work,” Xavi said on Instagram.

Al-Sadd announced on its website that Xavi would not be joining the rest of the team for its league game against Al-Khor later Saturday.

It is third-place Al-Sadd’s first game since the league was suspended in March due to the pandemic. The league resumed on Friday.

Qatar has recorded 109,036 positive cases and attributed 164 deaths to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Xavi would love Barcelona job if he can ditch ‘toxic’ personalities

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Two months can go a long way and, hey, self-isolation gives plenty of time for internal examination.

Al-Sadd manager Xavi Hernandez, the legendary Barcelona midfielder, says he’s ready to lead the Blaugranas, two-and-a-half months after rejecting the job.

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“Maybe years ago I could give myself some respect, but now that I have seen myself coaching I think I can bring things to the players,” said Xavi, via Marca. “But I made it clear to them that I saw myself in a project that started from zero, and in which the decision making was mine.”

Barcelona leads La Liga by two points with 11 matches to play and zero Clasicos left on the docket. Current boss Quique Setien took over for Ernesto Valverde in January.

Setien has overseen six wins and two losses in La Liga play. Barca was also eliminated from the Copa del Rey and drew Napoli in the away leg of the Champions League Round of 16.

Setien has been tasked with sorting out a club that’s a bit messy from top-to-bottom, and that might be kind. Xavi is wary of that, too.

“I would like to be very in tune with everyone,” Xavi said. “There can’t be anyone in the dressing room who is negative, toxic, and the medical issue is important. Everything has to fit. I’d like to go in with people from my environment to make a good team.”

Al-Sadd has won 57 percent of its matches with Xavi at the wheel, including the Qatar Cup and the Qatar Super Cup. Barcelona is a leap forward, though.

Xavi went as far as to speculate which current players should be lynchpins for Barcelona, and which ones should be targeted from other clubs.

He loves former teammates Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and says midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Arthur fit the bill.

Xavi said he’d like to see Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho in blue and red, but doubted the oft-discussed return of PSG star Neymar.

“I would sign wingers, like Neymar. I do not know if he would fit in a non-football sense, but football-wise I do not have doubts that he would be a spectacular transfer. Barcelona already have a style of play in the middle of the park… but they lack wingers like Bayern have. There don’t need to be many new ones: Jadon Sancho, Serge Gnabry… .”

It’s not difficult to read into Xavi’s statements; He felt he was ready for the job in January, but didn’t want to step in during a brutal time at the club. While it’s not the resolve you’d like from a club legend you can respect it.

Valverde set to lead Barca training despite Xavi reports

Valverde in question as Barcelona speaks with Xavi
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It’s all a mess at Barcelona, as messy as it can be for a table-leading side.

Barca threw away a spot in the Spanish Super Cup Final with more miserable game management and defending versus Atletico Madrid at midweek, heaping pressure on Ernesto Valverde.

He may just pack up and leave given the weekend’s news that Barcelona director of football Eric Abidal flew to Qatar to meet with Xavi Hernandez about the manager’s position.

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Valverde, it’s worth noting, has won La Liga in both of his seasons in charge of the squad. Valverde’s Barca is level with Real Madrid on 40 points, five points ahead of Atleti and Sevilla.

Al Sadd executive director Turki Al-Ali issued a statement saying it is “normal and expected” that Xavi will one day leave for Barcelona, but that nothing is imminent. Reuters correspondent Richard Martin says Xavi has not decided his future, though an AS report claims he wants the job in the summer.

All this leaves the two-time reigning league winner in a rough spot, Valverde wondering what’s next. El Pais suspects Barca may need a bridge manager.

To be frank, Valverde’s roster aside from elite weapons Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Antoine Griezmann seems stuck between too old and too green. Messi is having perhaps the best season in the world, but Suarez undergoes surgery on Sunday and Griezmann still growing into his Blaugrana shoes.

But the massive chances coughed up to Atleti at midweek were too familiar, and Barca needs some fresh ideas to shore up their structure. Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati aren’t going to fix the back.

There’s time to get sorted for the stretch run, with a manageable run of fixtures. There’s Valencia away as the stiffest challenge of a half-dozen La Liga outings before Napoli arrives for the Champions League Round of 16, followed by the away El Clasico.

Will Valverde be the man overseeing any of it?

Xavi Hernandez to coach Qatari champion Al-Sadd

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez will begin his coaching career with Qatari club Al-Sadd.

Al-Sadd says Xavi is taking charge of the team he helped become Qatari league champion this season.

[ MORE: Arsenal-Chelsea preview ]

The 39-year-old midfielder played four seasons with Al-Sadd after a storied 17-year career with Barcelona.

Xavi played a club record 767 games for Barcelona and helped the club win four Champions Leagues and eight Spanish leagues. He also played in Spain’s title-winning teams at the 2010 World Cup and 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

Al-Sadd says Xavi’s squad will gather in Barcelona in July for a pre-season training camp in the Catalonia region.

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